By Cindy and Walt
Mike woke up ready to try new things. The old things, that had been his whole world a couple of days before, hardly held any interest at all for him. His new gig seemed exciting. Who was the blond chick with the great boobs? It was almost all he thought about. He tried to figure a way to track her down but he had no idea how to unravel the thick cord of deception. He didn’t even have a clue. He remembered the day before when during his ride home with Wes, Wes had suggested he run before breakfast to clear his mind.
Wes: You don’t have to run far Mike. Just do it consistently.
Mike: Running makes my knees hurt. I have tried it.
Wes: Okay, do you have a bike?
Mike: There is an old one of mine from when I was a kid in the garage.
Wes: When I let you out of the car go right into the garage and pump up the tires and adjust the seat. Tomorrow morning ride that bike. It won’t hurt your knees, but it will make your mind even sharper. Ride it out till you are exhausted, then head home. When you get home take one of these pills. It’s the best high in the world. It’s like really mellow man.
The next morning Mike rolled the bike out and took off on it. It was early enough so that there was almost no traffic on the road. He rode away from the house till he was tired, then he turned and rode it home. When he arrive home he took one of the white pills Wes had given him. He took his hot shower and felt better than he could ever remember feeling in his life, especially so early in the morning.
His mom was up fixing breakfast while he answered his email. They left early at Mike’s insistence, so that he wouldn’t be late. He and Wes arrived almost at the same time.
Wes: Did you ride your bike?
Where Mike was a clean cut kid, Wes looked like a homeless street person. The nerd and the hobo would have been a great tag line for them, Mike thought.
Mike: Damn right I did. I rode about five miles out and five back. When I got back I took the white pill and the shower. Man I am so fucking mellow I can’t believe it. I don’t give a fuck what happens.
Wes: This is our secret. Keep it to yourself. Wes used his key to get through the gate then drove his car inside, with Mike as a passenger. They drove up to the third level.
Mike: Did you run this morning?
Wes: I got a hangover, so I run till I throw up, then I run home.
Mike: Are you going to be okay?
Wes: Yeah Mr. Hangover and me are really good friends.
Eddie: Hey you two let’s get some coffee, we need to talk. Mike, call Salina and tell her where we are.
Wes: Where is your Econobox with the slanted headlights.
Eddie: Lucille thought I should drive an American car, so she got one assigned to the Team. The car stays here and it’s for official use only.
Mike: Like for coffee breaks?
Eddie: Yeah for those.
No one spoke again until they were in the parking lot of the local McDonald’s. In the drive thru Eddie ordered three small black coffees.
Mike: I would rather have a coke.
Eddie: Three black coffees he repeated.
He pulled the full sized Ford into a parking space. Eddie passed the coffee around.
Eddie: Take small sips it’s very hot. (after a couple of sips) Well, anything to report? I know you both worked last night so did you learn anything.
Mike: I couldn’t find anything connecting the big titty blond to anyone. There is also nothing connecting her to the murder. She just happened to be in the lobby around the time Carlos was reported dead by his bodyguards. The only thing the blond and the woman with Carlos at the time had in common was she had a great body according to the guards.
Eddie: Yeah I knew all that. My detectives interviewed the guards. The medical examiner said he thought the drug dealer let someone stick an ice pick in his ear. Actually something a little larger than an ice pick.
Wes: There was an advisory to look out for people carrying very sharp pencils. According to the National Transportation Service, they believed they could be daggers.
Eddie: We didn’t find any foreign stuff in the wound according the M. E. (Medical Examiner). A pencil would leave graphite behind. There was none.
Wes: Okay it was just a thought. I couldn’t find anyone from the Swamp in town, but there is a former operative in Alabama. He most likely won’t talk since he left in good standing. And he is the boyfriend of the Swamp’s lawyer. He is the only one I can find living in the country.
Eddie: Well lets see how the rest of the week goes, if nothing pops out at us we probably should fly down and talk to this former Dog of War.
Wes: Technically he was just a contractor. Maybe we can find out a little about how the Swamp is organized.
Eddie: Well let’s get back to work. Keep sifting the shit. Eventually something that doesn’t stink will fall out. Mike you got any idea how to use that computer shit to cut down on the suspects, or find the connections.
Mike: To be honest boss we got lots of data, but we don’t really know what questions to ask. We might already have the right data just don’t know it. I will keep analyzing what I have. Maybe something will pop up.
Eddie: Mike, shift your focus to finding me a connected member of the cartel. We do know which cartel it was. Maybe someone who was there will want to help us. Wes let me know if any of your old CIA buddies ever met any of these guys. We are still trying to find a thread we can pick at.
Wes: If you just want a thread, we were sent details of an operation fifteen years ago. The email just said it was a private contractor. They had no rules of engagement, so they warned the bad guys a few times then they lit their asses up. They never named the contractors, but looking back on it, I’m sure they were from the Swamp.
Mike: Unnamed contractors came up in a couple of investigations that got dropped for security reasons. Frankly it didn’t look as if the investigations were going anywhere anyway. I picked them up all over the world. I even got a few in the states.
The most recent was something to do with a Girl who got falsely imprisoned on one of those island countries which cruise ships visit. She was held in prison for almost a year. She was listed as a private contractor offering protection to a billionaire’s family.
Eddie: Probably nothing but find out all you can.
The three of them went back inside and started to work. There was a donut box with a dozen fancy donuts inside, well not quite a dozen. There was also a brand new coffee pot sitting on a table. It had not been there at five the day before.
Eddie: So who do we thank for the Coffee and donuts?
Lucille: I arranged the coffee pot and I made the coffee. I am sure that it is better than anything you guys are getting at those drive thru restaurants.
May: I brought the donuts as a peace offerings since I have been a bitch. I promise I will do better. I am never going to like being ordered around by a cop, but I will try to be a team player. (she said it looking at Eddie)
Wes: Not that I’m complaining about the sugar fix, but what happened to you last night.
May: I had a very special visitor who convinced me it was in my best interest to pitch in. So meet the new May May.
Eddie: May May?
May: Childhood nickname.
Eddie: Well thanks for the donuts. As a matter of fact if you are serious, Mike is going to come up with some information. Take a look at it and run it by whoever you need to in order to get a current address on the woman in question.
In the meantime everyone one else work on the blond with the big boobs case. She is our best lead at the moment.
May: Why are we concentrating on this woman when that whole operation is what we are supposed to be investigating.
Eddie: We are looking at the operation of Swamp Dog and we are also trying to catch a thread into the cartel that is involved with it. There may be some kind of solid connection between the two. It wouldn’t be the first secret alliance in history. Now back to work everyone.
Since Eddie had awaken at five in the morning cold as hell, he began to think of living as where he lived not the house he visited on weekends. The Kerosene heater, he used for the occasional weekend visit, was never going to do. He needed to consider a better heating system.
He made a call to a heating and air conditioning company in Bishop’s Crossing. The guy agreed to come out on Saturday since it was the only time they could agree upon.
Wes: A word boss. (he said it walking toward the stairway door.) I talked to a friend who is so far out of reach, he might as well be on the lunar colony, if you get my drift.
Eddie: The lunar colony is an urban legend.
Wes: Right, anyway the company who owned the freighter which was carrying the rockets to a group of terrorist we had ties to was Bluestone Shipping. Their headquarters is in Washington believe it or not.
Eddie: Let’s see, a shipping company hauling rockets to rebels, backed by the CIA, has its headquarters in DC. Who would have thunk it. Wes we need to go see the boss over there.
Eddie (stuck his head in the door): May, a word please.
May stood instantly hoping her boring research was over.
May: Yes boss.
Eddie: I want you and Wes to go interview the president or CEO whoever you can get at this Bluestone Shipping Company. But first I want you to sweet talk Mike into pulling everything he can on them. I want you armed with the facts when you broach him or her. You fill her in Wes.
From that early morning chat until after lunch there were conversations between the people of the team. Lots of research and sharing of information. Eddie tried to learn what he could about the Bluestone Shipping Company, but he couldn’t find a current listing for them.
May: A word boss. (she said it while walking to the stairwell)
Eddie: You know we can talk inside some of the time at least.
May: You are probably right. Mike found that Bluestone is no more. They seem to have gone out of business a month after the pirate attack off the coast of Africa. The company’s security team fought off the Somali pirates. The pirates lost twelve men and two boats. Bluestone closed down and disappeared. Most likely thought there would be some kind of civil suit.
Eddie: So it was a dead end?
May: Oh no Mike found a report written to the Department of Justice explaining why they had no jurisdiction. It was written by the CEO of another shipping company. Mike is digging now to see if they are shipping for the CIA under some dummy companies. No matter what he finds we have a name and current address. I think I can take my DOJ ID and get into his office. From there is it more or less up to Wes to sweat him.
Eddie: (he stuck his head back in the door) Wes, a word.
Wes: Right boss.
Eddie: Has May explained how you are going to sweat this guy.
Wes: Yeah leave the knife and forceps in the office. The gaff is to bill it as a DOJ investigation. Being uncooperative will likely mean the end of the government shipping contracts.
Eddie: That sounds good to me. Tomorrow is Friday set the appointment for sometime during the afternoon. If we need to travel to do interviews, we can do it next week.
Wes: Sounds good.
Eddie was back trying to decide what to do to his house when Mike came to his desk all excited.
Mike: You are going to love this.
He tossed a digital picture of a blond. Eddie knew a booking photo when he saw one. They did them the same even in banana republics it seemed. The match to our mystery blond wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t impossible either.
Eddie: Did you get us a name.
Mike: Rose Seabold with a bunch of other aliases I think. She is some kind of operative for hire. Not only has she never been investigated, she has never even been mentioned in an investigation.
Eddie: She isn’t now. She just resembles our person of interest. So where is she?
Mike: Last known address Mossberg Alabama.
Eddie: That’s where the retired Swamp Dog is living now. That’s some coincidence.
Mike: More than you know. He was involved in the same contract she went to jail working, the one that was to protect that billionaire’s kid and grandkid.
Eddie: I guess I should pack a bag.
Mike: You want me to get Wes.
Eddie: Yeah do that. Also try to find a more recent picture of our girl. Wes, tomorrow is Bluestone then next week we go to Mossberg Alabama.
Eddie had Mike spend the rest of the day on the Mossberg connection and some time on the Bluestone connection as well.
At five o’clock Eddie almost had to order everyone to leave. They all wanted to stay and work. Well all except Lucille who had to be called to arrange the plane trip to Alabama. She was somewhere doing political things. Her idea had been to get it started then go ‘hands off’, which suited everyone except May.
May: Mike could I talk to you please.
The two of them went into the parking garage far away from the stairwell. Mike was thrilled to be in the presence of such a pretty young woman. May had hair the color of honey and she was tall. Mike liked tall leggy blondes but who didn’t, he thought. He also like that her breast were on the small side of perfect. Okay he would have liked them to be larger, but she really is very attractive in her own right.
Mike: What can I do for you May?
May: Do you have a name for us on the shipping company.
Mike: Sure there is so much going on, I guess I forgot to give it to you. There is an operations manager who was the assistant to the operations manager with Bluestone. He might know all about it.
May: So what’s his name.
Mike: Simon Highsmith. I have no idea what he knows but he should know something. He was at Bluestone when the hijacking attempt took place.
May: Thanks Mike you are a doll. (She spoke as she walked away)
Salina walked into her small apartment. She was on a leave of absence from her minimum wage job delivering medical equipment to mostly geriatrics patients. She did not miss that job at all. What she was up to at the moment wasn’t exciting, but it was at least interesting.
Salina drank a beer before she heated her TV dinner. When she went shopping for groceries it was easy. She just picked up a frozen dinner for every night of the week.
She was not allowed to hang out with her old friends so it was easy to stay out of trouble. The closest thing to trouble she got into was giving first aid to neighborhood thugs. They paid well and they had an interest in keeping her safe.
That night one of her neighbors brought her toddler to Salina’s house. The mother was illegal and afraid to go to the free clinic.
Salina: Listen closely your baby has a temperature. It isn’t dangerously high but it is too high. Give her these and if she still had a fever in the morning take her to the clinic regardless.
Mother: Si Senorita.
Mike went home to his basement bedroom. He could have stayed in his old room but he needed privacy on the million to one chance a girl would ever want to come home with him. The chances were even less since he had the ankle bracelet, which restricted his movements.
He drank a coke and tried to interest himself in the role play game. He just could not get interested. He changed over to remote accessing the office computer. He added even more color to the investigation.
Eddie tried to decide on a type heater based on information from the Internet. He had pretty much decided not to put in central heat. The house was small enough that a free standing unit with a good blower should work just fine. He had grown up in a house with a floor furnace, so he wasn’t worried.
He decided to install a gas burning stove in the living room. There was a wall that would allow the air to pass down the hall in a straight line. It might mean that the bedrooms would be cooler. That might be a good thing. Eddie liked a cool bedroom. He would just have to experiment.
Eddie: (into the phone) Hi. We have an appointment on Saturday. I need to cancel it. If you insulate houses, I would still like to talk to you.
Contractor: No we don’t do insulation, but I know a guy.
He seemed perfectly happy to hook Eddie up with someone else. In the end that one didn’t work out either. Eddie made arrangements with the Home Depot to send a man out to talk about several cold weather projects. The Home Depot installer agreed to make it Saturday morning.
May went to dinner with her more mature State Department girl friend but didn’t spend the night.
Lucille played an interactive video game with her kids. Something about saving a princess from hoards of rampaging democrats.